The Blotter Presents 155: Most Wanted and While The City Sleeps

Plus Morris, Mizell, MacDonald, Maggie Freleng, and more

That’s right: Eve and I talked about a movie called Most Wanted in the Most Wanted section of the podcast. Based on a true story involving a real Canadian journalist named Victor Malarek (…I keep typing “Malarkey,” but don’t read into that), it’s about police fecklessness, what happens when trying to hard to make a case becomes a case of its own, and what role reporters play in the stories they investigate.

The Cold Case topic, While The City Sleeps, raises similar issues — but it’s six and a half decades old. Is Vincent Price basically playing Lachlan Trump? How do women have more agency in a 1956 story than in a 2020 one? And will you also spend half the runtime sourcing various decor elements? Pour yourself a lunchtime martini and listen to The Blotter Presents, Episode 155. — SDB


For whatever reason, I know a ton of people born this time of year. Lousy with Virgos, I am. Mine are relatively easy to shop for (bourbon; vintage videogame consoles) but if you don’t know what to get yours, may we suggest a gift subscription to this here publication?

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It’s properly grounded for a three-prong plug, it won’t give you a hangover (probably?), and you don’t need a mask to read it…or the postal service to deliver it. — SDB

Trying to make my own luck today with a list of thirteen quick links. It’s lucky for me and Eve because it clears off the virtual desk we share; it’s lucky for y’all because otherwise you might miss your next true-crime obsession. Grab a rabbit’s foot; here we go.

  1. My esteemed colleague Melissa Locker’s newsletter, Pod People, has a handful of intriguing podcast recs, including Criminalia’s season about lady poisoners;

  2. iHeart’s The Piketon Massacre, which explores the deaths of the Rhoden family in Piketon, OH in 2016;

  3. and Whistleblower, coming August 27, that unpacks the NBA referee scandal. I mentioned this pod last month, and I think I’m probably better off with that docu I mentioned. You probably can’t go wrong subscribing to Pod People, though! I always find something intriguing, and these three are just a sampling of the true-crime pods in Melissa’s latest.

  4. Speaking of esteemed colleagues, Patrick Hinds’s Obsessed Network announced two new podcasts debuting this fall: Unjust & Unsolved, hosted by Maggie Freleng; and Crimes Of The Centuries, hosted by Amber Hunt. The former looks at wrongful incarcerations; the latter is pretty much what it sounds like, but the cases will likely be 19th- and 20th-century stories that were huge at the time, but fell off the cultural radar.

  5. Harold Schechter’s Ripped From The Headlines inspired me and Eve to discuss While The City Sleeps. Last week, A&E Real Crime’s Adam Janos talked to Schechter about what kinds of crimes lend themselves to the big-screen treatment. Talking about another Fritz Lang joint, M, Schecter notes that “the thing about the actual crimes is that as compelling as they might be, in and of themselves they don’t necessarily form a compelling narrative.”

  6. Before we settled on Most Wanted, Eve and I had planned to talk about Sundance Now’s The Suspect, which aired on the CBC earlier this year as The Oland Murder. Screener circs conspired against us, but the miniseries — which examines the killing of Moosehead Brewing’s Richard Oland — is available on the SN app now, although there might be a whiff of conflict of interest around the production.

  7. LitHub has an excerpt from Sarah Chayes’s On Corruption In America (And What Is At Stake) that looks at the Gilded Age and robber barons. The more things change…

  8. Our correspondent Susan Howard tipped us to this bonkers story from Inside Higher Ed. If the “Catfish: COVID-19” title doesn’t grab you, Susan’s explanation of the scam — “a bizarre death hoax which played out on Twitter recently and involves fraud, appropriation of first nations identity, sexual assault, teaching during COVID-19, women in STEM” — should do it. Colleen Flaherty’s report is a fast read and so dry it could smoke in the shower; check it out here.

  9. Morally Indefensible, the companion podcast to FX’s upcoming Jeffrey MacDonald case docuseries A Wilderness Of Error, has dropped. I know I have to listen to it and I know it’s going to infuriate me; if you’re listening too, let me hear from you in the comments.

  10. Eighteen years after Jason Mizell, a.k.a. Jam Master Jay, was murdered, the feds have finally indicted a pair of alleged drug traffickers for his killing. (I’m talking about the Law & Order ep ripped from that headline — though noooobody remembers it for that reason — on this week’s Extra Hot Great podcast. And in another coincidence, Eve and I talked about the JMJ episode of ReMastered on TBP…just about a year ago!)

  11. Elizabeth Holmes’s twice-delayed trial will finally start in March. When I clicked through, I was kind of hoping that the Theranos proceedings would get underway on my birthday — and they still might! You just never know with this case…and we still don’t know whether the trial will go forward in the traditional in-person manner, or via video.

  12. An item from Multichannel News notes that Investigation Discovery is rolling out Serial Killer Week starting August 31. That kind of breathlessly ticky-tack branding feels more dated than ever here in 2020, but I guess networks do what they have to do with already-paid-for archival material during the last week of the summer…

  13. And finally, AMC has inked a whole bunch of deals in the true-crime space. Cameron Esposito of the Queery podcast, New Yorker correspondent Mona Chalabi, The Daily Show’s Jena Friedman, and others will presumably host crime projects for the channel — or for one of its sister networks like Sundance — as part of AMC’s “talent-driven approach” to true-crime. No real details on what those projects look like, on format or topic, but AMC seems like it’s gearing up to elbow its way in front of prestige big dogs in the genre like HBO and Netflix.

That should hold you for a couple hours, hee. — SDB

Thursday on Best Evidence: GSK impact statements, why R. Kelly’s “friends” shouldn’t help, and more.

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